Geno, age 8, pictured above, had many strikes against him. His home life was unstable as his mother Shannon struggled to regain her sobriety. He had difficulty in school and wasn’t reading at grade level. He had lots of energy, but no good way to channel it. These days, it’s often complicated for children to succeed.

A successful childhood isn’t a program. It’s rooted in the community—a concerted effort by all of us to lift up those in need and to meet community problems with thoughtful community solutions.

You are an essential part of that solution. Thanks to your generous support in 2012, Geno and his mom Shannon are thriving through their involvement at Perspectives, Inc., a United Way partner agency in St. Louis Park that provides academic enrichment and afterschool activities for children. Lively Geno is reading at grade level and his mom is stable, confident and able to support his success.

We believe United Way is uniquely positioned to bring about innovative community solutions through:

  • Stabilizing families—the hallmark of our work—by providing a safety net in times of crisis and ensuring that people have what they need to meet basic needs.
  • Building pathways out of poverty for children through education improvement and for adults through job training.
  • Combining services that encircle troubled families with the support they need to meet and transcend multiple challenges.
  • Convening community partners from all sectors to drive long-term change and ensure a healthy, thriving nonprofit sector.

You make all of this possible. Included with this letter is our 2012 Community Results report, which details the measurable progress we have achieved against our 10 goals, as well as a recognition of donors who give annual gifts of $5,000 plus and companies that participate in our annual fund drive. 

We are deeply grateful for your support. Thank you for your commitment to the business of changing lives. In 2012, you touched over a million lives, including the lives of Geno and Shannon, through United Way by stabilizing families, helping children succeed and empowering healthy lives.  You can learn more at


Sarah Caruso

Ken Powell

United Way President & CEO United Way Board Chair; President & CEO, General Mills, Inc.

Photos by Wing Young Huie. Photography sponsored by The Mosaic Company.